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MINI Australia is planning to add an additional dealership in the Sydney suburb of Canterbury that is aimed at “affluent Asian customers”, according to BMW Group Australia CEO Marc Werner.

The new dealership will increase the number of Mini dealers in Australia to 18.

Speaking to journalists at the launch of the facelifted Mini Hatch and Convertible range last week, Mr Werner confirmed the BMW-owned brand is working “on increasing our footprint on the dealer-side here in Australia”.

“Mini will have a new presence in the PMA (primary market area) of Canterbury, which is extremely important for us because we are selling a lot of cars to Asian and affluent Asian customers, and that PMA sort of caters to exactly that,” he said.

Mr Werner also gave an update on BMW’s second factory-owned dealership in Sydney’s Rushcutters Bay, which will also house a separate space for the funky Mini brand.

“In Sydney, you may know, we are making extremely good progress when it comes to our rebuild of the Rushcutters Bay facility,” he said. “We knocked down that facility a number of years ago.

“It is a huge facility. We are investing more that $60 million and we’ll have a standalone Mini facility, which is an absolute benchmark with the latest in corporate identity and the latest of design, but also a lot of interior and design gimmicks that will not only lift the experience for the customer, but certainly will also make for an appealing destination for the customers.”

These new facilities are in addition to the recent refurbishment of Melbourne Mini Garage on Kings Way, and the completion of the Essendon Mini Garage facility also located in Victoria’s capital.

When asked by GoAutoNews Premium if a wider dealership footprint is needed in the future, Mr Werner indicated that the current number of retail outlets is sufficient.

“We’re certainly fine with what we have now. It’s really about ensuring the investments the dealers have made are now paying off,” he said.

“We’re certainly in a very healthy and good position in order to grow the business based on our current footprint that we have.”

Mini has increased its local sales to 2184 in the first six months of the year – 12.6 per cent greater than the same period last year.

The brand’s iconic Hatch model – now available in three- and five-door body styles – makes up more than half of Mini’s total sales, accounting for 1142 units.

Although the Hatch is down 5.5 per cent year to date, the introduction of a mid-life facelift is expected to boost interest.

The update also applies to the Convertible, which has found 175 new homes (-8.4 per cent) in the first six months in 2018, while the Clubman wagon is up 16.1 per cent, to 274 sales, and the Countryman SUV is booming in popularity with 593 sold – a 95.7 per cent jump year-on-year.

By Tung Nguyen